O, Mother, Mother

O, mother, mother,
You don’t have to question my gratitude
Nor remind me of debts I can’t repay.
I was your boy, but I am not your man,
Although I’ve never been too far away.

O, mother, mother,
Was I ever too naughty a child, or
Have I grown into a prodigal son?
Why cannot you stop your hurtful curses
And accusals of crimes I haven’t done?

O, mother, mother,
Why did you raise your pup with sheer disdain
Yet demand its tail to cheerfully wag?
Why on earth did you give birth to me when
All you had needed was a punching bag?

O, mother, mother,
A friend of mine has lost his mum today.
I watched him weep ’til he began to bleed;
And, with a jealous pain, I wonder if,
Some day, my tears for you will likewise bead.

 

Colin Lee

colin-lee-small

 

Photo Courtesy: steadyhealth.com
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20 thoughts on “O, Mother, Mother

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  1. Your stong poem should be handed to every parent as they leave the hospital with a child. Every parent needs to head these amazing words of anguish. May we leave legacies to our own children that show the lesson learned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jilly. Poetics aside, there’s no perfect parent in the world. We’re all bound to our shortcomings and mistakes (and our own slice of brokenness); thus I like your mindset of viewing this as a progress of lessons learnt. I still love my mother, as every child naturally does, though that intimacy has been lost since I was four; but, it does help me to understand and relate better now that I’m a parent myself, and that also teaches me to call for help (Wifey! Come o’er here!) when things go beyond emotional capacity.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Colin, my friend. First: this is a powerfully written poem. It is raw and true. Second: it is a poem I would not wish my son to ever read. His mother, a Korean, who suffers possibly from Bipolar disorder, has had the ability to wrench him as only a mother is capable of doing. I bleed for you as I read this poem. It is the burden that some must bear. You wrote it beautifully. Peace, Colin.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear this, Charley. Thank you for sharing your pain. And I know personally how scars like that never disappear but remain parts of who we become. I’m sure my mother had her loving intention and legit reasons, before every episode of disciplining turned out of control, especially when I started bawling in pain, in which case she would beat me until I was as dead quiet as a log; and since then I began to lose my ability to grieve (be it for my late grandmother or my puppy). I suppose that’s part of the reason I often indulge myself in a melancholic mood — the closest thing to grief — just so to avoid overfeeding that angry beast within. Having said that, on most other respects, she’s as nurturing as every mother would be; although, without that intimacy, as a child, I can never tell if it’s done out of genuine love or of a commitment to prove her self-worth. Oddly enough, I verified with my aunt that my mother had never suffered any abusive history, and my parents’ marriage has always been as happy as it can be. Where did all that anger come from? (Well, she would blame me for inheriting my vices from my Dad’s side. Hm.)

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      1. The difficult thing about gaining information about the health of a relationship (your parents’) is that only they know the real story. As for the beating… this is common, almost epidemic in South Korea. Chopsticks are the preferred weapon of choice, and the backs of the legs are the target. My son never — to my knowledge — had to suffer that kind of punishment. But then, his mother had other ways of tormenting a person. I’m sorry you went through what you did. Writing is cathartic. Talking to others helps some. Living long enough eventually deadens some of the pain. Peace, Colin. Keep in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

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